Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kling, Troy, and Schultz on Think Tanks

I'm about halfway through.

First - what they refer to as "think tanks" I don't even think of as "think tanks" - I think of them as adovcacy organizations, and that's probably because of my own background with the Urban Institute which is very serious about keeping that distinction.

They talk a lot about the Center for American Progress here, and I should note that Urban's new president is coming from CAP. I can tell you from experience, people at Urban definitely have these things in mind - people there almost universally want the Urban Institute to remain a "think tank" rather than an "advocacy organization". But part of the logic of bringing someone over from CAP is precisely to get our research out there and in peoples' hands. I think that would be a very good thing. Think tanks loose out to advocacy organizations, simply because of the time lag. I think it's certainly possible to cut that time lag without becoming an advocacy organization, and I personally am giving the new president the benefit of the doubt that that's the plan.

I have no idea what I'll be doing in five years, but I put the highest probability on being back in the think tank world. I like it a lot. But I hope you never catch me at one of these more advocacy oriented organizations.


  1. Well, CAP is a think-tank as people generally understand that term, which includes advocacy and always has. I don't see any reason why I should change to your idiosyncratic definition.

  2. You are welcome to think what you want, LV. The point is that that general understanding represents a misconception of the reality. There are actually quite different organizations out there.

    You're reminding me of a former commenter that mysteriously left right around the time you came here again (and has gone by pseudonyms before). I ascribe about a 73% probability to you being him, but even if you're not, try not to reproduce one of his worst traits: completely pointless contrarianism.

  3. @ Lord Vader

    CafeHayek needs commenters ASAP.

    @ Daniel

    I find getting a form 990 helpful in determining if an organization is a lobby shop or not., and are helpful too.


  4. Daniel,

    You're kind of paranoid dude.

    "The point is that that general understanding represents a misconception of the reality."

    The reality is that think tanks are advocacy organizations and always have been. If what you say about the Unban Institute is true then it is an outlier. I'm not being pointlessly contrarian, you're just wrong.

  5. What is CafeHayek?


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